John Duffy studies #3: Canadian Disagreements (technology, urban/rural and demographics)

-Trudeau is trying to be the first “post-Laurentian Liberal”.
-Laurentian elite: “The whispers in the common rooms at Queens, the easy murmurings at the Rideau Club, the things that happen in a cafeteria at the Place du Portage civil service benevolent society meeting” that way of doing business is gone.
-Trudeau is out of that world/group.
-That electoral coalition is out of his mind map. He is more attuned to young people and new Canadian communities.
-We’re not even going back to the Martin coalition.
-Trudeau: next, post, onward, forward.
-A post-Laurentian world need not be a Conservative one.
-Harper govt. operates with 21% of all men women and children, Harper governments never feel like a majority (they govern like they have to exert force and pressure in order to pass their agenda).
-“The middle class hasn’t got a raise in 25/30 years”.
-There’s great potential in the new supply chains for Canada’s traditional manufacturing communities to get back in the game (with support from governments).
-The future could look like Japan where young people are working their hearts out to provide for the old. It’s not which Canada you want, it’s which Japan you want.
-The question of energy and resources has become big since the 1970’s. We’re going to see more and more issues and political forms pertaining to energy.
-This as opposed to the typical 20th century political divide over the role of govt. in the economy (socialism vs. capitalism).
-“Technopolitics”: a clash between urban and rural. “Green” appeals to urban voters from progressive parties. Offerings to rural voters from conservatives put the environment on the back seat (Keystone, Gateway, drilling etc.). The vastness of the disagreement between urban and rural implies “the eclipse of the rural value system built around self-reliance”. It’s an argument about modernity.
-A scientific/evidence basis for policy is a loose term that the Liberals are running with but it represents something much deeper. The regulation of biotech, the politics of science and technology, the vast explosion of tech etc. are an enormous challenge to our society relative to our tiny attention span.
-Cites Shimon Peres: science/tech are fundamentally ungoverned and more important than politics. The young people are all about science/tech and you should become a scientist or entrepreneur if you really want to make a difference.
-Politics is catching up one buzzword at a time.
-On tech questions there tends to be a pro-producer and a pro-consumer viewpoint (GMO labeled on packaging for ex.). When it comes to technology a rural evangelical voter won’t necessarily take the pro-business, pro-producer argument.
-It’s way more important how technology is governed vs. 2% more or less on whatever tax.
-Andrew Coyne: It’s about technology understood as an existential question vs. lots of actually technological innovation (which isn’t happening).

Public opinion: the 905 vs. the 416

Note: This is a mini-essay derived from the report titled The 905 vs. the 416: Analysis of Portraits 2017 Regional Differences in Ontario published by the now defunct Mowat Centre. The report came out in 2017. The “905” is General Toronto Area shorthand for the immediate suburbs of Toronto proper.

It’s obvious that Toronto is very different from much of the rest of Ontario. But do Torontonians hold different beliefs compared to other Ontarians? Yes, the cliché is true, Toronto is a bubble.

It goes without saying that opinion in Toronto would differ from rural Ontario but how does Toronto compare to its vote-rich suburbs? As it turns out, quite a bit.

For one thing, residents of the 905 are much more likely to say that government has a negative impact on people’s lives at 47% of respondents with government-friendly Torontonians clocking in at a modest 33%. On a related note, the 905 is much more gung-ho about cutting taxes at 39% of respondents compared to Torontonians who ring in at a more complacent 31%.

Torontonians are inclined to rank climate change as a high priority (53%) whereas 905ers tend not to (39%). Torontonians are more likely to say the national economy is improving at 40% with the 905 registering a more pessimistic 33%. And finally, Torontonians are warmer towards accepting immigrants from conflict zones (56%) vs. the 905 (42%).

These results are all the more interesting when you consider that Toronto is divided between the wealthier areas along subway routes and the “inner suburbs” which—based various political outcomes—have at least as much in common with the 905 as with their bougie civic-fellows.

In conclusion, it seems there is a “bleeding heart” element to Toronto public opinion as compared to the 905. Toronto registers a more positive view of the role of government generally speaking. This is a predictable urban/collective vs. suburban/self-sufficient cleavage.

One last note: a major Conservative pollster and campaign operative is fond of saying that “Conservatives in Toronto are not like Conservatives in the rest of Canada.” So to some extent Toronto’s squishiness is bipartisan.